From Jerusalem to Jericho: straight through to Jackson – Job Posting: seeking republican legislators who demonstrate belief in the gospels

By Christopher Young,
Contributing Writer,

According to the Gospel of Luke in the Holy Bible – New Standard Version – a lawyer questioned Jesus about inheriting eternal life. Jesus, as He always does for those who seek Him, answered. This interaction is commonly known as the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that underscores love and mercy, fundamental for followers of Jesus Christ, those who self-identify as Christians.
It begins in Luke, chapter 10:25, “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” Jesus responded, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” The lawyer answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus replied, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” Seeking justification, the lawyer asked, “And who is my neighbor?”
At verse 10:30, Jesus recounted, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance, a priest was coming down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy on him.” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
This parable, both simple and profound, resonates in Jackson, under the Capitol dome, where non-neighborly thinking and deeds are rampant. Who are the modern-day robbers, and who are the ones who pass by? Who are the Samaritans?
The City of Jackson owns the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport, yet there is contention from Rankin County to claim it. This battle involves not just millions of dollars per year but also concerns about power. In Mississippi, racial dynamics often underpin such disputes. The fact that Mississippi’s largest city is governed by African-American leadership unsettles many. The effort to seize control of the airport has been ongoing for years, highlighted in last month’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing. This situation mirrors the parable’s query: who are the robbers or Samaritans here?
The attempt to take over Jackson Public Schools during Governor Phil Bryant’s administration cannot be overlooked. This situation represents another challenge to an African-American economic cornerstone, this time directly from the state.
Despite the Jackson Public School District’s improvement from an “F” to a “C” grade for the 2022-2023 school year, as reported by the Department of Education (, some legislators continue to advocate for diverting funds to private and charter schools, potentially depleting resources for public schools. This raises the question: has there been a genuine effort to repair the damage? Any attempts to demonstrate compassion, engage experts for assistance, or simply to act neighborly? Regrettably, at the Capitol, there appears to be an overwhelming majority who resemble the priests and Levites from the parable, with only a few acting as Samaritans.
Despite professing Christianity, the conservative majority among the elected officials seem to exclude Jesus’ teachings from their political actions. This exclusion results in the continued marginalization of those who are different from them, perpetuating inequality with each legislative session.
The severe water crisis that Jackson faced in 2022 was not a sudden occurrence, but rather the culmination of decades-long issues. Throughout this period, the city repeatedly sought funds for essential upgrades through bond requests. Unfortunately, many of these requests were either completely denied by the state or only partially fulfilled, as exemplified in February 2021 when the city’s request for $47 million resulted in a mere $3 million allocation, according to CNN on September 6, 2022. Safe drinking water is a fundamental need, yet some at the Capitol saw this dire situation not as a call to action but as an opportunity to divest the Capital City of this vital utility. Illustrative of this approach is Republican State Senator David Parker, who does not represent Jackson, yet introduced SB2628 to establish the Mississippi Capitol Region Utility Act. This act aimed to facilitate the state’s purchase of Jackson Water and Sewer from the City of Jackson.
Legislation for Regional Utility Act is conspicuously absent in both the northern and southern regions of Mississippi, with proposals emerging solely for the Capitol Region. Senator Parker, whose professional background as an optometrist is noted on his legislative webpage, alongside his Christian faith, seemingly capitalizes on the situation created by the federally appointed administrator’s success in improving Jackson’s water and sewer system. The enhanced efficiency and profitability of the system present an opportunity he appears keen to exploit.
This initiative, which can be interpreted as an attempt to override African-American leadership in Jackson, is not an isolated stance; he is joined by others with similar objectives. Far from embodying the Samaritan’s spirit of aid and empathy, his actions align more with those of a usurper. His voting record, including his stance on HB1020 last year, further illustrates this perspective.

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